About FAIR and ALEC
Anti-immigrant activists would have the public believe that anti-immigrant legislation such as Arizona's SB 1070 spring up naturally as a result of grass-roots efforts. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, much if not all of the anti-immigration legislation can be traced back to the coordinated efforts of a small number of anti-immigrant organizations. Some are motivated by xenophobia and some are motivated by greed.
The ironically named FAIR stands for Federation for American Immigration Reform. It is listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and has ties with white nationalists and neo-Nazis. Its founder, John Tanton, has publicly advocated for a white American majority to preserve the dominance of European culture.
FAIR's legislative arm is called State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), for which the main lawyer is Kris Kobach. FAIR/SLLI:
- helped to draft SB1070 and promote its passage.
- is linked to legislation in at least seven of the “copycat” states: Maryland, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah
- helped to draft the amicus brief in support of Arizona's SB 1070.
- operates in at least 35 states
- makes money by suing state and local governments over enforcement of immigration laws
FAIR has several equally deceptively named "spin-off" groups such as "Progressives for Immigration Reform" and "Center for Immigration Studies." Working together, they give the illusion that a broad political spectrum supports their views, but in reality they are all controlled by John Tanton.
The secretive group, ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), brings together certain corporations and right-wing legislators in order to specifically introduce and pass legislation that benefits member corporations. The Arizona state senator who introduced SB 1070, Russell Pearce is a member of ALEC. Corrections Corporation of America, a for-profit private prison corporation, is also a member of ALEC. Together with other ALEC members they drafted "model legislation" that would mandate jail sentences for undocumented immigrants, resulting in increased "business" for Corrections Corporations of America.
For more information about ALEC, the website ALEC Exposed is run by the Center for Media and Democracy.
For more information contact socialjustice @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Wednesday, December 14, 2011.